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Lakes state health initiative helping reduce maternal mortality rates

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February 25, 2015 (KAMPALA) – A joint health jointed partnership between international NGOs and Lakes state’s ministry of health is achieving some success in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates in rural South Sudan.

Italian NGO Doctors with Africa (CUAMM) said the agency had helped 47 per cent of women deliver safely in its first year of operations in Lakes state’s Yirol county.

In the past three years safety levels have risen to 100 per cent, said CUAMM country director Chiara Scanagatta.

South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and women have a one in seven chance of dying from pregnancy related causes.

Around 90 per cent of women giving birth at home and those who suffer life-threatening complications during childbirth often have little or no access to emergency medical care.

“In one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality rate on the planet, getting pregnant can be a terrifying time for women,” said Scanagatta.

“But by ensuring a simple ambulance service can work in a rural setting, we’re helping to make pregnancy and delivery a little less scary,” he added.

Scanagatta told Sudan Tribune that the poor state of roads in Lakes State also poses a significant challenge, making it difficult to transport women in need of urgent medical attention.

Large potholes and flooding can often make a simple journey to a nearby hospital almost impossible.

The group says they welcome the collaboration with Lakes state’s ministry of health to improve emergency obstetric care for women.

As part of the joint initiative communities in Yirol West can now dial a dedicated emergency hotline which then dispatches a special ambulance to transport the patient to Yirol county hospital for proper care and treatment.

CUAMM’s work in Yirol county is currently funded by the Health Pooled Fund, a $185 million fund backed by the governments of the UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the EU, which aims to improve health care outcomes in six of the country’s 10 states.

“While there’s still a long way to go to stop mothers dying in childbirth, we’re confident that by sharing [the] success with NGOs, donors and the ministry of health, we can help each other to come up with strategies that we know work in the South Sudanese context,” report on the Yirol county initiative said.

(ST)

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